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I have heard of 10 1/2 inch replacement head versions of this Style M but do not have any images — please contact me if you have one of these on any Tubaphone tenor.
These heads are not mentioned in the ’1923′ catalogue, but were listed as such in the ’1912′ catalogue for Professional Artist five string tubaphone No. Catalogue speak in the sense that what is given in the catalogue as “shell size” doesn’t always jive with the replacement head size we would use today.
This article is the result of years of research, accumulating data, and finally bringing it all together in one place.
It has grown beyond the very narrow purposes of identifying certain changes in the Vega made banjo models, especially the Whyte Laydie and Tubaphone, to include when the name stamps changed.
1923 is a date to highlight because this is the year when some critical changes to Fairbanks – Vega tenor banjos took place relating to headstock inlays and the loss of short-scale tenors (~20 3/4 inch scale and nominally 17 frets) for replacement by long-scale (~23 inch scale, nominally 19 fret [not the 22 fret plectrum banjo]).
However, there was some overlap during this period, as might be expected in a factory with stock parts sitting around. Day left Fairbanks – Vega for the Bacon Banjo company — some say that this seminal change signalled an actual downturn in Vega banjo design/quality!There is a catalogue listed as 1923 (but very likely any date from 1917 to 1924) that lists three tubaphone tenor styles: Style M, Style X No. This is the first documentation that I am aware of of Vega Tubaphone tenors.